All woman who are trying to get pregnant have one thing in mind – when will I know for sure? Your Ovatel fertility monitor can tell you when you are most fertile each cycle, and then we wait for magic.
The dreaded two week wait is a stressful one for most women who are hoping that they are indeed carrying a new life. It is filled with what ifs and doubt that you caught the egg. There are worries about how long it will take to actually fall pregnant and for those who have been trying over 6 months, it can seem like eternity, and that something is wrong. The truth is that there is a difference between fertilization or conception, and actual implantation. Once you understand the difference and what can happen between these two distinct events, you can see why doctors tell women that it can take a healthy couple up to one full year of active trying to get successfully pregnant.
The Conception Theory
The term conception is when the sperm and egg combine in that precious magic moment. This does not mean that you are pregnant. If you took a home or blood pregnancy test at this moment, you would not find any hCG – the chemical that indicates you are indeed pregnant – in your body. Conception simply is the fertilizing of the ovum after ovulation.
Couples who are TTCing usually are timing intercourse perfectly, especially those who chart with MyCycleDiary and use ovulation prediction kits. This means that every cycle you have a high likelihood of conception. If both sperm and egg are present at the right time under the right conditions, conception is 99% likely. Then why are you not pregnant right now? Conception is only the first step in the 2 week journey.
Once an ovum and sperm have combined to yield an entire blue print for a new person, it has a huge task to accomplish. It has to have combined all the genetic material correctly without fail or fault. There can be no blips or broken combinations. If there is, the fertilized egg will stop dividing before it ever leaves the fallopian tube. This happens most often. There is either too much genetic material (trisomy) or too little (missing chromosomes). Sometimes the chromosomes break and reattach in the wrong place or there is some other defect in DNA that stops the blastocyst from dividing after 3-5 days. This why when women undergo IVF they wait 3-5 to watch the embryos grow and see which ones are actually dividing still.
Let’s say that the new little embryo has perfect DNA and is dividing as all good newly formed babies should, it should exit the fallopian tube and enter the uterus in about 6 days after ovulation occurred. Now the little ball of cells is looking for a place to land, which leads us to the discussion about implantation and what it means.
Once the embryo has reached the uterus, you are about half way through the two week wait. Your body is making tons of progesterone that will make the lining of your uterus sticky. This stops the egg from rolling once it hits the uterine cavity. Implantation can happen as soon as the blastocyst getting the uterus at 6 days after ovulation and anytime up to 12 days past ovulation. The normal time of implantation is between 8-10 days past ovulation.
The embryo will be stopped by the sticky chemicals on the uterine lining and will hatch out of its shell. Once it hatches it secretes chemicals that allow it to digest the lining and burrow into it. At this moment, hCG is produced and you are now officially pregnant.
Even though the embryo has begun the implantation process and is secreting the chemical hCG, it does not mean things are perfect. Implantation can be tricky for many reasons. If the embryo implants too soon, it could be too close to or in the fallopian tube. If the embryo implants too late, it may not secrete enough hCG to stop your period from coming. The embryo can also not implant deep enough to support the building of the placenta. One can easily see that it still can mean that your period will show up on time even if implantation has started. There is nothing anyone can do and most likely you will never even know you were pregnant. Many doctors refer to this as a chemical pregnancy as the embryonic tissue never developed, only the pregnancy hormone was released.
Let’s say that the little embryo has managed to implant, create hCG, stop your period from coming, and made the test turn positive. Now you can say you are pregnant. An embryo that accomplishes life this far has a good chance of survival to full term. The risks are still there in the first trimester, but most damaged or embryos that are not compatible with life do not make it through the two week wait.